Hundreds of hate crimes left unpunished due to lack of suspects

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 April 2019

Almost a quarter of hate crime offenses unpunished due to lack of suspects being identified.	Picture: Mark Atherton

Almost a quarter of hate crime offenses unpunished due to lack of suspects being identified. Picture: Mark Atherton

Archant

People responsible for hundreds of religious or racially aggravated offences got away scot-free during a year's period, Home Office figures reveal.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary launched its hate crime car in October 2017. Picture: Avon and Somerset ConstabularyAvon and Somerset Constabulary launched its hate crime car in October 2017. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Avon and Somerset Constabulary closed almost a quarter of reported hate crime cases made between September 2017-2018 due to no suspect being in the frame.

These include racially or religiously aggravated assault, harassment and criminal damage offenses with the highest proportion of suspects avoiding jail for committing the latter.

Victim Support’s chief officer Diana Fawcett said: “Hate crime is still under-reported as victims often fear they won’t be taken seriously.

“This type of attack can have a particularly devastating impact on victims as it’s a very personal attack on part of their identity.

Victim Support is an independent charity which helps people affected by crime or traumatic events in England and Wales.

She continued: “From our experience, victims can be seriously impacted both emotionally and physically and it is really important people know there is support available, whether or not they have reported the incident to the police.”

Of the 1,634 reported cases in Avon and Somerset, the highest proportion of suspects who escaped justice committed racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage offenses.

Of the 62 recorded, 63 per cent of cases were closed due no one being held accountable to charge the crime with.

The police also closed 39 per cent of incidents for racially or religiously aggravated harassment in the catchment area.

A police spokesman said: “There has been a general increase in the number of crimes reported to us following the introduction of an improved crime recording system.

“We believe that reports of hate crime are significantly under reported.

“Wherever possible and when victims want to pursue matters through the criminal justice system we will support them fully in doing so in order to get the best possible outcome.

“There is never an excuse for hate crime in any shape or form and this criminality will not be tolerated.”

“We will continue to work with our partner agencies to make the communities of Avon and Somerset be safe and feel safe.”

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